It’s no question that dress-code in the workplace has seen a major shift in the past year. Because of this, we thought it would be helpful to breakdown the most common in-office attire guidelines. Remember that every office is unique and may have their own guidelines so be sure to ask your manager or HR leader what the dress-code is.

Breaking down the common dress-code buzzwords

Smart Casual

Smart Casual in a nutshell means casual with touches of business wear. It is one step more casual than Business Casual and one step more formal than Casual. Offices that look for Smart Casual as a standard are often looking for:

  • Dark denim, free of holes or rips + a blazer or blouse on top
  • Chinos, a skirt or dressier pants + a solid colored tee and accessories
  • Closed-toed shoes

Business Casual

Business Casual is a bit more tailored than Smart Casual and typically does not allow for denim. With this style attire, ties and blazers are not included. Think: dress pants, skirts and button-down tops and blazers without the formal elements.

Elements of Business Casual dress often include:

  • Dress pants/skirts/dresses
  • Blouse/button-up shirts/sweater
  • Closed-toed shoes

Business Professional

When you think Business Professional, the easiest way to imagine it would be straight out of a Mad Men episode… but 2021. Business Professional attire is commonly required in the banking, government and legal industries but not limited to them. It is the most formal of the three most-common dress-codes.

  • Business Professional attire includes:
  • Suit (jacket and pants/skirt)
  • Solid colored button-up top
  • Closed-toed shoes

As you can see, each dress-code has its own formula. The only constant among all of these? Closed-toed shoes. This is often not just a preference but a health and safety standard for many companies. When in doubt, ask your boss for their definition of the dress-code and ask for an example.

Working from home? That’s a whole other story but the basics remain true. Be sure what you wear meets your company’s policies and/or dress-code for what you can see on screen if utilizing video conferencing. From the waist down we are fans of sweatpants and fuzzy slippers.

Don’t forget to always iron or steam your clothes to make the ultimate impression. Happy outfit planning!

About Avenica

Through conversation, high-impact coaching, and best-in-class support, we translate and meet the needs of our client partners by identifying and transforming potential into high-performing professionals. At Avenica, we are working from the inside out to embrace diverse thought and perspectives while actively working to dismantle systems of oppression and implicit bias. With a deeply-held belief in human potential, we transform lives and enable organizations to achieve new heights.

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